Of course finding a National winner isn’t easy and if I do I will pay my dues to luck as much as judgement.

I like a bit of originality in our formulaic modern world and I have been racking my (small) brain to think of something to say about The Grand National that hasn’t already been said but I have been banging my head against a stone wall which coincidentally is what the horses had to jump over in the early days of the race when it was known as The Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.

I did hear something original this week. I asked my 5 year old daughter who would win and she said “a unicorn daddy”.

She is seriously lucky so I had a look and couldn’t find it on oddschecker. I did try telling her that Sprinter Sacre isn’t running in The National but she knows as much about him as I do unicorns.

The race is famous because your Granny might tell you the winner or your Uncle Peter, or the wife’s chiropodist.

Most people will have an opinion come race day and one of them will tell you the winning name before the race is run rendering our faces red and the hours of research pointless.

I originally wanted to do a piece about the history of the race but there really isn’t enough internet left to go through even the stand out stories so I have decided to try and find the winner instead.

My thinking is that if I pick the winner I will be a tipping guru who has unraveled one of the hardest puzzles of them all. If I lose I will be like millions of others except the wife’s chiropodist who I will be following in next year.

Anyone with a passing interest in the most valuable jumps race in the world will have noticed a few glaring nuances of the race.

It is long……very very long

And the obstacles are big……very very big.

This may seem obvious but it gives us our two biggest pointers in the search for a winner.

The horse must be a great jumper and have bags and bags of stamina.

The fences have been modified over the last few years to be safer but it must still be a nerve racking experience for horse and jockey.

We can scour the trends for hours for clues so we need to start eliminating a few nags who have forlorn hopes of even getting round.

If you haven’t won over 3 mile you can almost always forget it.

If you are too old or too young your luck will be out.

This leaves us with surprisingly few to choose from.

It also helps if our horse is comfortable in big fields.

I could go into more detail about the elimination process but that is for another day, for now I will list my picks and the main reason I picked them.


This horse ticks all of the boxes. An excellent win at 4 miles along with a 2nd place in the Welsh National means Stamina should not be an issue.
He is also a superb jumper who seems to enjoy large fences.

Across The Bay

Beat fancied Cappa Bleu.
Doesn’t mind big fields and is a good jumper. With a bit of improvement this horse could take a place or better at a nice price.

Chicago Grey

Another one with form at 4 miles. Runs well on all types of ground and should have the stamina to pass a few on the run in. Needs to prove himself in a big field.

I also have a shortlist that I can’t narrow down so might resort to a game of stick the pin on the horse with my aforementioned daughter.

Shortlist includes

Imperial Commander

Would like to see this former Gold Cup winner do it. He is the classiest beast in the race.


Unlucky last year and could go one better this time.

Balthazar King

Good ground should bring out the best in him. He attacks jumps well and enjoys his trade.

I am sure that every single one of you will be having a bet on The Grand National and I would like to wish you all luck but we can’t all win so winner or not enjoy one of the greatest spectacles in sport.


Lester Cavanagh